Wednesday, October 10, 2007

An Ocean of Concrete

Gently, the cardboard stingray floated across the vast ocean of concrete. The wind rippled the grains of sand across the ground in waves of dust. Pebbles skipped from crack to crack, settling in among plant seeds and cigarette butts.


Ignoring the cars that lined the grassy shores, the cardboard stingray rippled along the rough surface, enjoying the sun warming his back. Torn tentacles of duct tape gently explored the ground below him, searching quietly.

As the breeze blew gently, the sting ray floated closer to where I was standing. Tentacles twitching, he gently made his way over to me, bumping into my foot.

"Excuse me?" the cardboard stingray asked. "Have you seen the Octopus?"

Looking at the blacktop below me, I tried not to smile.

"No," I answered. "I'm afraid I have not seen the Octopus."

"Oh," the stingray answered, obviously disappointed. "Thank you."

"Why are you looking for an Octopus?" I asked.

"We're to explore the Green Sea together," the stingray replied.

"Green Sea?" I asked. The stingray's silver crumpled tentacle gestured to the field bordering the asphalt.

"Ahh," I understood and nodded. "I'll tell him if I see him."

The stingray's tentacles twitched and thanks, and he continued on, drifting by my feet to the shady part of the parking lot.

As I continued walking, I saw a crumpled mass of cardboard. Twisted chunks of cardboard and rope shot out from around the mangled mass in the center. Two black marker marks marked the center of the circular bundle of cardboard, making it look as though the mangled mass was looking at me. Squinting at it, I finally realized what it was. The mass gently crawled along the ground, moving much slower than the elegant stingray.

"Are you the Octopus?" I asked. As the wind blew, the cardboard swayed back and forth.

"The sting ray is looking for you," I repeated my message. The cardboard head dipped down slightly, and the black eyes almost looked like they were smiling in the shadows. As I walked away, I heard a gravely dragging noise as the Octopus moved across the sea of blackness.

When I returned a few hours later, both the Octopus and stingray were residing in the grass, lounging in the sunlight. After crossing an ocean of concrete, they had made it to the Green Sea.
When I passed, I saw the stingray's tentacle wave gently in the breeze and Octopus's head dip. And I smiled as I floated away into the sunlight.